Renew First Aid

22C, Clear sunny blue skies. Still day one, breezy on day two.

I learn’t more on this course in the first morning than on the entirety of the previous course three years ago. One aspect of their teaching technique was drill. They drilled into us the routine of Assess/check Airway; Breathing; Circulation and then damage checks (ABCD). There were lots of role plays (which I normally hate) but it did build up nicely.

I was kept on my toes all the way through, mainly because I’d learnt so little on the first course.

We finished not long after 5pm each day which gave us a free evening on day one. A little group of us decided to walk up to Mam Tor to watch the sun go down.


The route was gorgeous (pun intended) but we were late for the sunset (20:05). Even so, there were plenty of people on the hill enjoying the beautiful evening. Moving east a little along the saddle is the descent. From here we needed lights. Our companion Karen, was a little nervous about this. I was a little annoyed that my head-torch battery had gone flat and had to rely on a hand-torch. It was plenty adequate.

From a leader’s point of view, this is where it got interesting. Karen knew the route from walks in daylight and took the lead. However, she went off track which immediately seemed wrong to me. It’s interesting because you can see how smart people make mistakes. The combination of stress and changed estimated distance was one thing. Another is that once her stress levels rose, she admitted “being frightened”, and then there is the single-minded determination to see it through. These meant that she didn’t see the over-view and take in all the available clues on that dark hillside. This whole area of compound errors is studied in heuristics.

Heuristics is something I am conscious of when leading teenagers in DofE. More of that tomorrow.

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